This is an archived page and for reference purposes only. We are not accepting applications for this course for the 2023/24 academic year.
Please see our postgraduate course list for the upcoming academic year.
International development is an exciting field of study at the forefront of international affairs, exploring questions of poverty, inequality, social orders and global justice. Our unique interdisciplinary MA is taught by academics, practitioners and policymakers to enable you to understand the multifaceted political, economic and legal processes that shape development.
Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS) is an attractive home for development studies, not just because of its experience and expertise in international studies, but also because of its location in Brussels, the site of various development institutions and agencies at the core of the field.
The programme improves your critical understanding of contemporary issues in development and provides practical tools for a future engagement. It considers theoretical, practical and ethical issues by interrogating development discourses, objectives and effects, and by seeking to understand forms of inclusion/exclusion and intervention in societies.
Issues covered include economic development, poverty eradication, legal empowerment, public-private partnerships, social entrepreneurship, trade and privatisation, informal economies and finance, and technological initiatives. It also provides you with an interdisciplinary approach to development and to allow you to specialise in your field of interest, such as development economics, development and migration, development and conflict, or human rights.
BSIS attracts an exceptionally diverse and active student body that shares an enthusiasm for engagement in global affairs. Our students come from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas; many have spent extended periods abroad and/or worked for development institutions. An important forum is the International Development Group, which meets regularly to discuss personal experiences, debate issues in development, invite guest speakers, attend conferences and workshops, and also organise conferences.
The programme is suitable for students seeking to understand the field of international development as well as for practitioners who have substantive experience. It provides conceptual tools and practical skills for a variety of careers in international affairs.
After their studies at BSIS, our students engage in careers in international affairs, including international organisations, NGOs, international business and research institutions across the globe.
Standard and extended versions
The MA is offered in both a standard version (90 ECTS credits) and an extended version (120 ECTS credits) and in each case students may take the programme with or without a secondary specialisation. Those on the extended version take more modules to gain extra credit.
To be awarded the standard MA (90 ECTS), you must take three modules from the list for International Development and a further three modules from the full list of modules offered at BSIS. For the extended MA (120 ECTS), you must take four modules from the list for International Development and a further five modules from the full list of modules offered at BSIS.
The following modules are offered to our current students on the MA International Development programme. At BSIS, you have a wide range of optional modules to choose from and this can be within your chosen degree, or as part of a secondary specialisation (for more information on specialisations, please see below.) This list of modules is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation:
Modules marked with * are compulsory.
Students may not be registered on more than 3 modules per term (full-time) or 1 or 2 modules (part-time) and each module will run in either Autumn or Spring.
On this programme you may not take more than three law modules (standard) or four law modules (extended).
The MA in International Development allows you to choose secondary areas of specialisation from the range of programmes offered at BSIS. This leads to the award of an MA degree in, for example, 'International Development with Human Rights Law'.
To include a secondary area of focus on the standard programme, you must choose three modules from the list for MA International Development, two modules from one of the programmes listed below (your secondary area of study) and one module from the full list of modules offered at BSIS.
For the extended programme, you must choose four modules from the list for MA International Development, three modules from one of the programmes listed below (your secondary area of study) and two modules from the full list of modules offered at BSIS.
- with Human Rights Law
- with International Conflict and Security
- with International Law
- with International Migration
- with International Relations
- with Political Strategy and Communication
- with Foreign Policy (available as a secondary specialisation only)
Students have access to excellent e-library facilities online via the Templeman library in Canterbury; inter-library loans within Belgium; 50,000 online journals are also available off-campus. Students also have outstanding access to libraries in Brussels, such as at our partner universities Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Université Libre de Bruxelles, the Royal Library of Belgium, among others. The School’s resources include a dedicated selection of more than 1,000 key texbooks on the subject of international affairs and law. In addition, postgraduate research students have their own designated room with computer terminals and access to wi-fi in all areas at the Brussels centre.
Dynamic publishing culture
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. The Brussels School produces its own journal, The Brussels Journal of International Studies, which was founded in 2003.
Global Skills Award
All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.